Editorial: Avoid partisanship, embrace common solutions around Ukraine invasion

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, March 1, 2022

To hear Rowan County’s congressman, Rep. Ted Budd, tell it, President Joe Biden may be solely responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Some of the Biden administration’s first actions were crippling American pipelines and waiving President Trump’s sanctions on Russia’s pipelines,” Budd said in a prepared statement last week. “Putin saw that, sensed weakness, and now Russia is invading Ukraine. It’s a tragic situation. Projecting our strength both at home and abroad, as we did under President Trump, makes America, and the rest of the world, a safer place.”

Budd trotted out thick partisan rhetoric by laying blame for decisions of a deranged dictator, Vladimir Putin, at the feet of a single U.S. president. Are there ways Biden fell short of holding Russia’s feet to the fire before things reached a crisis point? Certainly. As the elected leader of the United States of America, the country with the largest economy and best-funded military, he has a bigger role than most elected heads of state. But there are no straight lines between individual actions by the United States and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Budd can have a far more substantial role in punishing Putin for an inexcusable invasion of a sovereign country through his role on the Financial Services Committee than by making statements comparing records of U.S. presidents or praising Putin.

The committee oversees the entire financial services industry. That includes banking and securities — areas worth watching closely to ensure Russia can’t skirt sanctions. Budd made reasonable suggestions during a Fox News program last week, including that Russia should have been disconnected from the SWIFT payment system earlier. The system is behind most international money and security transfers.

Even if Russia could get around it, Budd said, western countries should make Putin work to do that.

Budd also can help by being an eager, willing participant in debates about common solutions. He’ll need some help from the other side to do that, but his current strategy hasn’t gone over well with his own side either. Republican U.S. Senate opponent Gov. Pat McCrory called Budd out for praising Putin and calling him “intelligent.” It’s unfathomable that Budd, who wants to be a U.S. senator, would call Putin intelligent as the dictator’s military is dropping bombs on women and children, McCrory said.

As it has already proven, the invasion of Ukraine can a galvanize new, unified and nonpartisan responses toward global peace. A crowd of a couple hundred at a downtown prayer vigil Monday should raise possibilities about other ways the Salisbury-Rowan community can help. In our community there are people from Ukraine and others with experience helping service organizations in the country, participating in religious exchanges and adopted children who made Salisbury home (stories the Post is working to tell).

There’s more to do than practice partisanship.